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Published On: Thu, Dec 27th, 2018

2019 budget: Atiku’s knowledge of economic principles questionable -BMO

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By Umar Muhammad Puma

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has taken a swipe at the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar over his stance on the 2019 budget proposal.
The former Vice President had given six reasons the budget won’t work and concluded, in a personally signed statement, that Nigeria had not exited recession. But BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that Atiku’s position has proved that his knowledge of economic principles is questionable.”How could a man described as one with economic know-how say a country whose Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at 1.81 % in the third quarter of 2018 compared to 1.17 % the previous year had not exited recession?“Even his statement that indicated that there was a 1.5% growth in the second quarter of 2018 is a clear pointer to a sure and steady growth backed by a non-oil GDP growth of 2.01% in the same quarter as a result of the current administration’s faithful implementation of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“In addition we have had three budget cycles since 2015 that have spurred massive infrastructural growth with 1,531 kilometres of roads constructed and 1,008 kilometres rehabilitated across the country as well as massive railway construction, yet the PDP Presidential candidate wants Nigerians to believe that the 2019 budget proposal and the previous ones were bad.
“We make bold to say that contrary to Atiku’s position, the budget will build on the sure and steady progress the country has witnessed in so many facets of life and attain the 2019 projection of 3.01% growth.BMO pointed out that all President Muhammadu Buhari has been doing since 2015 is to dig Nigeria out of the hole that PDP placed it for sixteen years.”It would be
recalled that the party presided over what would go down in history as one of the worst times in the country’s political history.“After years of higher oil revenue, PDP ensured that over 100 million Nigerians were living on less than $1 a day in 2012 as confirmed by the World Bank.“Nearly 61% of Nigerians were living in extreme poverty at that time while an audit report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) showed that the country earned $62.9 billion (about N12.5 trillion) that same year.“It was around this time that over 800 companies shut down and tens of thousands of Nigerians were pushed into the unemployment market, and that did not include Government-owned Enterprises (GOEs) that were privatised under the supervision of Atiku Abubakar as the then Vice President between 1999 and 2007.Incidentally these companies folded up, in the same PDP years, after their assets were stripped by their new owners.“President Buhari’s administration was now left with the task of paying off pensioners and giving interest-free loans to small business owners and farmers under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) in order to take millions of people from the poverty threshold
that Atiku’s party forced many Nigerians into.BMO also expressed surprise at the manner an individual aspiring to govern Nigeria glibly dismissed the increase in the country’s foreign reserve under President Buhari’s watch.“In the President budget speech, he revealed that the reserves were up from a low of $28.57 billion in May 2015 to $42.92 billion in December 2018 but Atiku, the ‘economic expert’ said it had nothing to do with the government’s economic policies, but the grace of God.“How could he have said a $14.35billion increase in foreign reserves be simply by God’s grace? So how would he describe the failure by the previous government to add to the reserves in spite of higher oil sales for most part of its tenure? “That tells you all Nigerians needs to know about Atiku’s economic knowledge-Questionable”
BMO added. It consequently urged Nigerians to disregard the PDP Presidential candidate’s stance on the 2019 budget as part of the tissue of lies the party has been dishing out in recent times to discredit President Buhari and his administration.

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